Hello ladies, and gents. Today I’m going back to basics. I will be looking at each individual match and segment. Some may be lost in translation. If they were too short or not noteworthy enough to make the pad, that’s too bad. The show on the whole was very pleasing, but some particular highlights stood out. See if you can spot them.
The show opened with Shawn Michaels coming to the ring to cut a promo about how trustworthy and impartial a referee he will be at Hell in a Cell. He was quickly joined by the hometown heel Randy Orton. He teased a little faceness, before reminding HBK that people from St. Louis “aren’t so bright” working the crowd like a true pro. He threatened Shawn, and as he turned to leave the ring, pulled him back and tried to hit the RKO. He was Irish whipped against the rope and just ducked out of the ring in time to avoid the Sweet Chin Music. Then all of a sudden, The Miz bounded down the ramp to beat on him ahead of their match to start the show.
The Miz v Randy Orton: The Viper beat Miz and The Wyatt Family appeared on the ramp to cut a weird promo. The end.
Fandango v Santino Marella: This was a throwaway mid card match with a heel roll-up win for the ballroom supremo.
Los Matadores v 3MB: AGAIN! I can’t believe they booked this match again! I can’t believe that I’m actually starting to like El Torito! He is more over than the team itself. There was some good lucha libre on display here and I am actually starting to warm to these guys. They continued their undefeated momentum after hitting their tag team finisher once again. Jinder Mahal then did the proverbial job for the midget after the match. He must be so depressed.
Triple H and Stephanie came to the ring. The latter spoke of how the two had repossessed Big Show’s house. Hunter pulled off another God-like performance and proclaimed in the immortal words of Mark Twain “Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” – Then he proceeded to get the crowd all worked up like the Game of Thrones style evil dictator that he is. Daniel Bryan came out and conducted a chorus of “Yes!” chants from the ramp, but was attacked from behind and beaten down by Alberto Del Rio. Stephanie booked the two of them in a match for later on in the night. Triple H started chanting “Yes!” which brought the entire crowd on their feet to chant “No!”
Ryback v R-Truth: This was the first of two Beat the Clock matches. Ryback and Punk would compete in the challenge for the chance to choose the stipulation for their Grudge Match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. The babyface started off the match in humerus fashion by ducking out of the ring to shake all of the fans hands on the outside, goading Ryback into a slapstick chase. After he had managed to waste a bit of time, Ryback caught up with and dominated his opponent. He got the Goldberg chants, the unhelpful Goldberg chants. Jerry Lawler acknowledged them, which I thought was interesting. Then the chanting contest came along: “JBL”, “Jerry”, “CM Punk” – St. Louis is a good crowd! A big improvement on the last couple of weeks. After a good effort from Truth, Ryback put him down and set the pace at 5 minutes, 44 seconds.
Stephanie picked on Brie Bella backstage and booked her in a match to face Tamina Snuka, who would have AJ Lee in her corner. However, Nikki Bella would not be allowed at ringside.
Tonnes of Funk v The Real Americans: Be sure to check out my weekly editorial tomorrow, in which I’ll be talking about why I think The Real Americans are due a face turn. More of those reasons why I think that were on display again in this match, but as always, Cesaro was the leading light. He hit the neutraliser on Brodus Clay for the win, and even managed to put the Giant Swing on Tensai. An impressive bout of pure strength again from him in this rare appearance from Clay and his buddy.
Brie Bella v Tamina Snuka: This was a decent match to be fair. In the end, Tamina won with the big boot, before hitting the Superfly Splash from the top rope, and then a wicked powerslam, both after the bell. The deranged AJ jumped in the ring to apply her evil submission hold for good measure.
CM Punk v Curtis Axel: In the first of three really quite good final matches, Punk chased the 5.44 time that Ryback had set in his earlier match. An intriguing encounter concluded after a great piece of psychology. Punk got the win with just 11 seconds remaining, after Axel had performed well. He performed so well that he got a little over-zealous. Rather than run the clock down, he decided to try and pull off a big move to win the match. Heyman was pleading “Don’t try and beat him” – He didn’t listen and got the GTS for being too honest. I could well see this being a very subtle hint at a face turn for Axel, who often seems too honourable for his own good and appears to be starting to annoy his mentor. Heyman is becoming more occupied with Ryback too. That could be an interesting idea for the rookie.
Getting back to the matter at hand, Punk had won and could therefore pick his poison for the pay-per-view match. He decided that it would be a 2-on-1 handicap, CM Punk v Ryback and Paul Heyman. I thought that was a bit lame and it didn’t really make any sense. That’s far too ‘Cena’ a thing to do for Punk’s character in my opinion. That was redeemed seconds later though, when he announced that it would be inside Hell in a Cell! That’s three matches that I can’t wait for now.
Alberto Del Rio v Daniel Bryan: This was another good match, especially in terms of technique and striking. After a lot of old school back and forth, Bryan began to pull off impressive high spots, each sold very capably by Del Rio, until Randy Orton distracted him on the screen. He got his attention, went into the training room that Brie and Nikki were in, and closed the door behind him. Now he is parring off Cena too! Bryan of course bailed on the match and ran to the back, leaving Del Rio lying on the mat to take the Count Out victory. Randy suckered him into the room to attack him from behind. The beating was a little lame, but still a pretty cool predatory moment.
Triple H rallied the troops of The Shield in the office with the news that their upcoming main event defence of the Tag Team Championship would be under No Disqualification rules, giving them a huge advantage. He told them “The gloves are off boys. Finish it!” before planting a big ol’ kiss on loving wife Stephanie.
An awesome John Cena rehab workout vignette. Yes, I like those.
The Shield(c) v Goldust & Cody Rhodes (for the Tag Team Championship) Goldust came out in his legendary wig, but really should have been afforded a longer entrance. As this match started to heat up, I realised how absolutely awesome JBL had been on commentary all night, cracking me up every other minute with his heel banter. I keep saying it but it just has to be said: Goldust is in tip-top shape! WWE have been doing a really good job of knowing which legends are actually fit to come back and wrestle these days. Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam and now Goldust are a big, big enhancement to the roster.
Everyone involved gave a really strong showing in this match. The Shield eventually isolated Goldust who had to make his own break to escape and give Cody the hot tag. He unleashed a flurry which took out all members of The Shield, who seem to be in the main event every week these days! That’s how you book a good stable. With it being No DQ, you just knew Dean Ambrose would get involved eventually and make it 3-on-2. You thought that put the odds against the Rhodes brothers, but Goldust certainly evened them with an awesome chair attack. Then everything just went wild!
Seth Rollins powerbombed Cody onto the barricade on the outside. Goldust clotheslined Rollins, Reigns and himself over the top rope. Roman Reigns speared Goldust through another part of the barricade. Big Show came out through the crowd and knocked out every single member of the group. Cody Rhodes covered one of them and got the win, and the Tag Team Championship. Triple H came down in a rage after the match. Big Show chanted “Yes!” in the middle of the fans, Cody and Goldust celebrated on the ramp, and Triple H bounded around the ring like a crazed bloodhound. What a way to go off the air!
I will explain my rating. I thought Raw was a great show, I have to say. It was logical. There were some really good matches, and a lot of great appearances. All the vignettes were solid and productive. Hell in a Cell is shaping up to be another diamond in the rough, as the company attempt to stop the rot after two poor pay-per-views in a row. Most of all, the incredible main event really made this episode one to remember. Bring on the pay-per-view!